Collection: Alfred Cohen

Alfred Cohen was an American whose art was firmly rooted in the European tradition; he was inspired in particular by the commedia dell'arte, the caricatures of Daumier and the colour and handling of the Post-Impressionists and Expressionists.

He was born on May 9 1920 in Chicago. His father, a furniture dealer, had emigrated from Latvia to America, where he married the daughter of another Latvian emigre.

Cohen attended the Art Institute of Chicago, but the Second World War intervened and he volunteered for the US Army Air Force. He hoped for a posting to Europe, but served instead from 1942 to 1945 as a navigator in Flying Fortresses and Liberators based in the Pacific.

After the war Cohen returned to the Art Institute, where he studied under Louis Ritman, Boris Anisfeld and Egon Weiner. In 1949 he was awarded a fellowship to study in Europe, where he was to spend the rest of his life. He travelled widely throughout the Continent -- including Spain, where he met Ernest Hemingway -- revelling in the artistic fervour of the post-war era.